Skip to content

Scallops with Salted Black Bean

Scallop with Black Bean 01

A while ago, I tried a dish called ‘Scallop Xao Tuong’ at the Café Indochine Vietnamese Restaurant in Ottawa. It was described on the menu as being Scallops with Eggplant and Zucchini in a Fermented Black Bean Sauce and, while it was really delicious, I was a little disappointed in that there was almost no hint of black beans to give it the really rich umami flavor I was expecting. I also noted, in my review of the restaurant that, in addition to the eggplant and zucchini, there were all sorts of other vegetables included and that I felt the end-result was too ‘busy’.

I decided that I would try and improve upon the basic theme at home and my idea was to up the amount of salted black bean, replace the tiny bay scallops used by the restaurant with slices of large sea scallop, and keep the vegetable component to a much simpler minimum… 


  • 3/4 lb. large Sea Scallops, thinly sliced horizontally;
  • 2 cups Eggplant, cut in small chunks with skin attached;
  • ½ cup Red Bell Pepper, cut into small bite sized pieces;
  • 1 small handful of Basil, coarsely chopped if the leaves are very large;
  • 2 tbsp. Salted Black Beans;
  • 3 cloves Garlic, sliced;
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar;
  • 3 tbsp. Shaoxing Wine;
  • ½ cup Chicken Stock;
  • 1 tbsp. Oyster Sauce;
  • 1 tsp. Light Soy Sauce;
  • 1 tsp. Salt;
  • 1 tsp. Cornstarch, plus extra for dusting;

The Method

Scallop with Black Bean 02

First, stir the soy sauce into the scallops and, in a separate bowl, toss the eggplant with the salt. Leave these aside for 15 minutes or so.

Now, mix together the sugar, Shaoxing wine and black beans and, when the beans are softened somewhat, coarsely mash them with a fork, leaving plenty of large fragments. Finally, mix the teaspoon of cornstarch with enough water to make a smooth paste and then stir it into the stock along with the oyster sauce.

Scallop with Black Bean 03

When you are ready to cook, toss the scallops with just enough corn-starch to coat them lightly. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over high heat and then, working in batches, quickly sear the scallop slices on both sides, removing them to a pan for the time being.

Scallop with Black Bean 04

Rinse the eggplant chunks in just a little water to remove excess salt and then pat dry. As with the scallops, dust the pieces lightly with cornstarch and briefly pan fry until the white flesh is just starting to turn golden. Set aside for now.

Scallop with Black Bean 05

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a wok or other deep pan over high heat and then add the garlic. When the garlic is just starting to brown slightly, add the bell pepper and sauté until softened.

Scallop with Black Bean 06

Add the black bean mixture and, after a few seconds, stir in the scallops and eggplant, tossing until they are heated through.

Finally, add the stock mixture, stir until the sauce thickens and then add the basil leaves. As soon as these wilt, plate and serve hot.

The Verdict

Well, I was very impressed with the taste of this experiment as it came out just as I was aiming for. Unfortunately, the dish wasn’t quite as visually appealing as I hoped. In part, this can be put down to the black beans as the ‘juice’ they make has a very inky blackness to it, but I also seared the scallop and eggplant a little too darkly. Pristine white scallops and brighter colors to the veggies would have improved this, I think. I’ll try it again though…

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi! I have to try cooking with scallops one of these days… Your recipe looks very good. Nice job! 🙂

    October 31, 2013
  2. Yum! I always forget about fermented black beans as a source of umami. I’ll have to try this with trumpet mushrooms in place of the scallops.

    October 31, 2013

Comments, thoughts or suggestions most welcome...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Meet & Eats

The food that I've had the pleasure of meeting and eating.

Uncle Grumpy's Playroom

Current events, humor, science, religion, satire

Food Travel Lover

走过的地方 尝过的美食 留下的回忆

The Odd Pantry

Essays on food

Reputable Sources

Organizing ferments since 2013

that Other Cooking Blog

. food . photo . sous vide .


My Virtual Cookbook to Share My Love and Joy of Food and Cooking One Recipe at a Time

lola rugula

my journey of cooking, gardening, preserving and more

Yummy Lummy

I cook, photograph and eat food with the occasional restaurant review!

Eye Of the Beholder

A pair of eternally curious eyes and a camera...Life is beautiful.

gluten free zen

Taking The Stress Out Of Gluten-Free Grain-Free & Dairy-Free Living

Clayton's Kitchen

Big flavors and fun cooking from a cubbyhole kitchen

Bunny Eats Design

Happy things, tasty food and good design


Dentist chef, just a dentistry student who practice the dentist's cooking recipes in a dentist's kitchen

Mad Dog TV Dinners

Guess what's coming to dinner?


Real Food & Real Opinions

Bento Days

Making bentos for kids

Garden to Wok

Fresh and tasty!

Bam's Kitchen

Healthy World Cuisine

Trang Quynh

everyone is special in their own way :)

Farm to Table Asian Secrets

Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season


If people say that life is too short to drink bad wine, it means also that life is too short to eat crappy food!

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

The Unorthodox Epicure

Confessions of an Aspiring Food Snob

The 好吃 Challenge

1 girl, 273 days, 100 recipes


a recipe sharing and bento blog


Just another site

The Food Nazi

Never try to eat more than you can lift

Expat Chef in Barcelona

From my kitchen to yours

Keeping Up With the Holsbys

a journey into my head and my pantry

Nurul's Culinary Adventures

I Love Food, the Universe and Everything!!


home-cooking recipes, restaurant reviews, International cuisine ,

Naked Vegan Cooking

Body-positive Vegan Goodness

Bites of Food History

Sharing my Experimental Archaeology of Food

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Cooking, food, wine


A Journey About Food, Recipes And Destinations


Fresh, exciting and adventurous food journey

One Man's Meat

Multi-award winning food blog, written in Dublin, Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: